Multi-billionaire and Christian preacher Paul Dhinakaran, who was in Sri Lanka on a business visa, was banned from holding a religious gathering by the Sri Lankan government. He was detained at Palaly airport after allegations that he was going to misuse his visa by conducting miracle healing and preaching programmes. He was told to cancel all his agenda in the island nation.
The action was taken following complaint from the Jaffna Shiv Sena organisation, when pamphlets were publicly distributed by ‘Jesus Calls’ Paul Dhinakaran group stating that a religious gathering would be held for three days from March 23rd to March 25th in Jaffna.
According to times onlines (official web site of Sunday Times in Sri Lanka), Paul Dhinakaran and his entourage arrived at the Bandranaike International Airport in Katunayake and had flown to Palaly ahead of the preaching programme scheduled to be held in Jaffna on March 25th.
But before he set his foot down, Sri Lankan authorities told them that he would not be able to carry out preaching events with the visa issued to him. He was detained at the airport for a brief period before he was allowed to leave to a hotel in Jaffina from where he was told to return to Columbo on the 24th.
Uthayan News.ca reports, “ Sri Lankan Shiva Sena appealed to the people and the police that a person visiting on a business visa should not be allowed to engage in religious preachings. In this situation, Paul Dhinakaran’s team, which had been involved in religious events in Colombo and Kandy, arrived at Jaffna airport by private flight from Ratmalana airport at 4 pm on March 23, Thursday”.
The Immigration Control Officers prohibited the Paul Dhinakaran team from leaving the airport after they arrived at Jaffna Airport. After extensive negotiations, on 23rd night at 8 pm, the immigration officials, after confiscating the passports, allowed the Jesus Calls group to stay in a hotel in Jaffna and warned them that they should not hold any religious meetings.
More than 50 Hindus from the Manipai area had written to the DIG of Police in Jaffna, requesting that no permission for the religious propaganda meeting be granted to the Jesus Calls group. The Shiva Sena, which had planned a protest for March 24th, called it off after immigration officials barred Paul Dinakaran and his team from holding a religious meeting.
In a complaint addressed to the DIG of Police, Jaffna, they said, “We wish to bring to your kind notice of a situation developing in Manipay and Rasavin Thoddam in Jaffna district which will create law and order problem towards disturbing the peace, tranquility and interfaith relationships.”
They added that the meeting violates Section 3 of the ICCPR Act of 2007 and Section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which states that no one shall propagate war or advocate national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.
‘Jesus Calls’ was founded by late DGS Dhinakaran in 1962 and is now run by popular tele -evangelist Paul Dhinakaran and his family. According to their website, Jesus Calls gives sermons on Christianity in Tamil Nadu.
Indu Makkal Katchi official tweet says “Paul Dinakaran who landed in Sri Lanka for a miracle healing meeting, was arrested and deported back to India in the airport. Sri Lanka ,it seems, now very cautious about the proselytisation of Christianity”
In 2021 January, Income-Tax Department raided close to 28 premises belonging to Paul Dhinakaran’s missionary ‘Jesus Calls’ for alleged tax evasion and foreign fund mismanagement. they found an undisclosed income of Rs 118 crore after it raided at premises linked to the Coimbatore-based evangelist group.